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Audi's lighter, faster TT Ultra Quattro Concept

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April 25, 2013

The TT Ultra Concept handles better, brakes faster and is quicker to 100 km/h (62 mph) in ...

The TT Ultra Concept handles better, brakes faster and is quicker to 100 km/h (62 mph) in only 4.2 seconds

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First introduced as a concept at the 1995 Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi’s mighty, yet compact TT sport-coupe has changed little since its inception. But with its war-on-weight campaign, Audi decided the already lightweight TT could use a trim. So off to the fat farm went the Ultra Quattro Concept, and when all was said and done, a 300 kg (661 lb) lighter vehicle remained.

The diminutive TT, which stands for “Tourist Trophy” from the Isle of Mann race series, may be highly impractical as a family vehicle but has received kudos over the years for its contemporary, iconic styling and high fun-to-drive factor. With little to improve on from a mechanical or engineering perspective Audi set out to lighten the load.

Significant structural and material revisions are to thank for much of the pound shedding. The Ultra Quattro Concept tips the scales at a seriously svelte 1,111 kg (2,450 lb), which makes for an impressive power-to-weight ratio of around 275 hp per ton through a 2.0-liter TFSI engine.

Naturally, the TT’s body and chassis were the first places Audi’s fitness gurus went to work. A production TT, with a low body weigh-in of 206 kg (454 lb), is already a fit street fighter, but thanks to the concept’s new body revisions and materials, another 43 kg (94.8 lb) was shed from the package. When figuring detachable body parts into the equation, a total of 100 kg (220 lb) was shed from the body alone. Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) in the rear end, center tunnel, B-pillars and in the roof also contributed to the weight-loss program.

The TT Ultra Quattro's interior remained relatively untouched

Weight reduction measures to the four-cylinder powerplant come in the form of modifications to the crankcase, crankshaft, balancer shafts, flywheel, sump, bolts and select ancillary units. All these tweaks helped reduce engine weight by 25 kg (55 lb). Chopping this type of weight from an engine is an impressive engineering feat in itself. Again, lower engine weight means less to manage under extreme driving situations thanks to quicker transitional abilities and better handling characteristics.

Unsprung weight, anything not supported by the vehicle’s suspension, is an important weight detail often overlooked during performance upgrades. In the case of the TT Ultra, suspension weight-loss came in the form of fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) coil springs, which replace conventional steel coil springs.

The core of these new hi-tech, lightweight springs is made up of long glass fibers, twisted together, then impregnated with epoxy resin. A machine then wraps additional micro-fibers around the core at alternating angles of plus/minus 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis. These layers in turn support each other and provide the necessary compression/ decompression functionality. According to Audi, this FRP suspension modification reduces unsprung weight on the TT by 40 percent.

Revised front brakes with ceramic discs, aluminum fixed calipers, a titanium exhaust system and CFRP wheels with high-strength aluminum spokes, all played a part in shaving another 20 kg (44 lb) from the TT.

Not only will the TT Ultra Quattro Concept see handling and braking improvements from the strict diet, but performance will also benfit. With a power upgrade to roughly 305 hp and 400 Nm (295 lb.ft) of torque, the TT can now do the 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 4.2-seconds. A significant jump from its heftier brethren. Top speed for the TT Concept is rated at 273 km/h (170 mph).

The Audi Ultra Quattro Concept will be on show at next month’s Wörthersee festival in Germany.

Source: Audi

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine.   All articles by Angus MacKenzie
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6 Comments

I think I would feel guilty carrying too much change in my pocket, let alone a passenger, (unless she is size 0) in this thing.

Ash Mills
26th April, 2013 @ 04:46 am PDT

Two problems: 1. How are we to judge the significance of the weight reduction, e.g., what was the original weight? 2. Why offset the efficiency gained with a more powerful engine? I don't need or want a car that goes 170 mph and can be used for drag racing. I want better gas milage and handling. But offsetting fuel efficiency with more power is standard. I've seen it a hundred times. And I wonder, is everybody but me asking for more power? It seems to be the objective of every car maker, except for Aptera and Edison2 VLC. They get it. And I would buy it. (Still waiting after 35 years.)

Don Duncan
26th April, 2013 @ 10:18 am PDT

Sad they can't get far lower. I have an all composite of similar size, strength if not more that with an ICE would weight under 1200lbs.

Even with 720lb of battery, it's an EV, it's weight is only 1300lbs.

So just why can't car companies do it?

And yes it's as safe as a compact car using the same technics Ferrari and McLaren uses in their pricey versions.. Just by using medium tech composites, no CF these become lower cost, I do composites for a living, than metal cars.

jerryd
26th April, 2013 @ 12:15 pm PDT

Absolutely Don, you are correct. Many people do want a lot of power. In this case, at least for me, it would be serious fun on track days. I probably wouldn't drive it much on the street. As long as there have been car makers, enthusiasts practically waited in line for their high performance models. Looking back through history, which cars skyrocketed in value on the collector market? Not a lot of Mavericks going for 100K are there? Look at the technology at play here. You have an efficient, four cylinder car approaching performance figures that, until just a few years ago were only in the realm of super cars. Keeping in mind, that many long races were lost, not on the track, but in the pits due to poor economy, I'm glad to see racing technology filter down to street cars. My preference for cars that are both fast and/or luxurious while being fuel efficient at the same time, is getting easier every year with advances such as this.

Bruce Williams
26th April, 2013 @ 12:35 pm PDT

Keep in mind this is just a concept.

They can add power, take away power to get better mpg.

Don, the improvements would make for much improved handling, read it again with handling in mind.

Most people buying a small sports car do want more power, but Audi will likely offer a lower power model with better mpg.

Don, the article mentions they shaved 300kg and it now weighs 1,111kg.

Not sure how you missed that, that tells you the original weight.

Dadgar
27th April, 2013 @ 08:49 am PDT

I would like one NOW! A street driver may never want to use the added horsepower, but the one day you come up behind a full log truck or freight hauler with one tiny passing lane for many kms, you will be glad you have it on tap.

The Skud
28th April, 2013 @ 07:30 pm PDT
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